NJ Supreme Court ends lifetime registration for juvenile sex offenders

Posted: Updated:

The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled juveniles cannot be placed on the state's sex offender registry for life.

The unanimous decision issued Tuesday found the requirement under Megan's Law violated juvenile sex offenders' due process rights under the state constitution. Those placed on the registry can now apply to be removed after 15 years. The offenders must also pass a safety test.

The decision centered on a defendant, known only as C.K., who was convicted of sexually assaulting his adopted brother when he was 15 years old. The victim was 7 at the time. C.K.’s attorney, James Maynard, argued that the registration requirement made it difficult for C.K. to travel and advance his career.

“My client was offered a number of promotions, all of which he refused because he was concerned about a background check,” Maynard says.

Maynard says the petition should not just be limited to juvenile sex offenders but also those who were convicted of murder. Manyard says that there is research to prove that many of the offenders who were convicted as minors, do not re-offend as adults.

“All of the people who can prove to the court they're not a risk to the public should not be kept on Megan’s Law by a lifetime bar based on the offense they committed,” Maynard says.

Maynard says that his client will be able to apply to be removed from the list in November.

The Supreme Court ruling did not indicate how many people will be eligible to be removed from the registry.

The sex offender registry was enacted in 1994 and later expanded in 2002 to include the lifetime registry requirement. 

The state Attorney General's Office has declined to comment on the decision.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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